Themed Lists

Most Disappointing Reads of 2021 // i’m not mad, just disappointed

Oy! Happy Thursday! How are we all doing?

My goodness, this week has been BUSY. Finals have started and it is also production week for the newspaper. Not to mention the fact that I’m memorizing an 8 minute orginal comdey to compete at Saturday’s speech tournament.

So yeah. Given the craziness of everything going on in my life right now, I haven’t had much time to do much reading or anything. But! I have been working on some of my end of year-ish posts all year long (so I would remember which books could go on which list and such) and wanted to share one today!

*dramatic drumroll please*

I’m realizing that this is a significally less dramatic reveal than I thought because y’all have already seen the title of this post and clicked on it. Oh well, pretend to be surprised when I say that today we are counting down my picks for the post disapointing reads of 2021.

A bit of a disclaimer before we get started here. This post is straight-up opinion. I’m not saying these books are subjectively bad or that you’re wrong if you liked them. They just were not for me. With that, let’s hop in.

Ahhh I really loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely. There were some elements that made me scratch my head, but at the end of the day it was a compelling retelling that reached into my heart and clawed feelings out of me. Then A Heart So Fierce and Broken came along and went in this totally different direction. Which would have been fine had it been better developed in A Vow So Bold and Deadly.

The final installment of a series is supposed to be epic, gripping, and tie the remaining lose ends together. Yeah, I didn’t find that to be the case with A Vow So Bold and Deadly. It was fine. I could have gone for more stakes, development, and closure, but sadly it did not deliver on any of those counts. Ultimately, it bit off more than it could chew and I was left feeling meh. 

I love Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan. It was perfectly tragic in the way a Romeo and Juliet retelling should be and had anxiety representation that I really liked. So naturally I was excited for Dugan’s sapphic rivals-to-lovers story. Sadly, it did not deliver.

The disconnect I felt with both of the main characters is what really made this story a no for me. They were really awful at communication. There was just a lack of communication and sensitivity on both sides of the relationship, which made this story really unenjoyable for me.


The Stalking Jack the Ripper series went downhill after the second book. I mean, yeah, Capturing the Devil was better than the absolute disaster that Escaping from Houdini, but it wasn’t really a high bar to surpass.

Capturing the Devil felt like a giant bandaid of a book: fixing the relationsip and unraveling the plot of the first book all at once. And somehow, somehow the countless near-death experiences haven’t clued Audrey Rose into the fact that using yourself as bait is not the only effective way to solve a murder. I really don’t know how a character who is supposedly so smart can make so many consecutively poor life choices.

Better Than the Movies sounded like tropey rom-com goodness. And there was fake dating!!!

But sadly, everything about it was the definition of bland. From the misunderstood bad boy who can’t handle his feelings so he insults the main character to enough miscommunication to get whiplash from, this book just didn’t work for me. There was so much potential for this to be so fun, but there were just too many moments that gave me the icks.

Academic rivals-to-lovers? Sounds like a blast.

Yeah no, these characters acted like literal 12-year-olds. I mean that as an insult. Having immature characters isn’t inherintly bad, but dealing with these two 18-year-olds through all of their middle schoolish antics just didn’t jive with me. Add in the lack of character development and chemistry between the main characters, and Shipped ended up sinking. Seriously. I felt the impending doom as soon as the main character called herself “quirky.”

Once Upon a Broken Heart had the potential to be a delightful fairytale with all sorts of fun shenanigans inside. There repetitive nature of the story towards the end, oblivious nature of the main character, and the nickname “pet” made for a less-than-positive reading experience. Also, there needed to be like 80% less biting. Towards the beginning the story was fun, but the further and further into the story I got, the less invested I became.

And with that, I think we are going to call this list a wrap. I’m crossing my fingers that the remaining reads of this year won’t be worthy of this list. Fingers crossed, I guess.

What were your most disapointing reads of the year? What didn’t you like about them? Do you agree with any of my picks? Disagree?

11 thoughts on “Most Disappointing Reads of 2021 // i’m not mad, just disappointed

  1. ahhh, i love this post so much! it’s so funny because I’ll probably have OUABH on my favorite books of the year list, but i also really didn’t like capturing the devil. audrey rose was so unbearably stupid, and the extra romantic obstacle did nothing. ahh, that series ended on such a low note I’m angry all over again. anyways, i hope you have a wonderful December💜


  2. I haven’t read any of these but so sad when books disappoint, especially final book in series. When you’ve stayed with a series you want a great send off!!
    Sorry better than the movies was a let down.. I hate it when contemporaries feel bland 😭
    Hope you have less disappointing reads next year. My most disappointing read was probably The Midnight Library, I was expecting something different so that could be on me though. This was a really fun post to read 🥰


  3. I liked A Curse So Dark and Lonely but gave up on the series when I kept hearing bad things about the second book. Now I’m glad that I didn’t continue, as I also would have been disappointed 😔 I think the first book would have been better off as a standalone. I also gave up on Stalking Jack the Ripper, I read the first book and then lost interest 😅


  4. I found Once Upon a Broken Heart better than the Caraval Trilogy. Sorry to hear that that it was disappointing. Better than movies was an okay read for me. Eveyrthing went downhill in the third act for me.


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